May 23, 2011

Navajo Cops stereotypes Indians

A Navajo woman reviews Navajo Cops, which I haven't seen:

A response to National Geographic's Navajo Cops

By KupKakeqtThis past week, I watched a rerun of National Geographic's newest show, Navajo Cops. The premise of the show is similar to Cops, but filmed on the Navajo reservation. Obviously, the show will be littered with your average reprobates, thugs, trouble youths, etc. After watching the show, I couldn't help but cringe. The Navajo Nation, the largest American Indian tribe in the US, receives little if any national exposure. When we do, it's usually negative or stereotypical, for instance Oprah's visit to the Navajo Nation.

So, to my dismay, Navajo Cops was just a reinforcement of negative stereotypes of American Indians.

We are drunks. We are vanishing. We are hopeless. We are destitute.
Her conclusion:On one hand there is exposure to the problems we face within our communities, but then the show's narrow focus only reinforce negative stereotypes. I for one wasn't hanging my head up high after watching this show! I felt extremely embarrassed for my nation and those unfortunate Navajos who were seen in the show.Comment:  This blog's title is "Angry Navajo/Indian Girl," so you can tell where she's coming from.

Sounds like Navajo Cops is the TV equivalent of the comic book SCALPED, which also stereotypes Indians as drunk, vanishing, hopeless, and destitute.

As "Indian Girl," the proper approach isn't to cover up the negative. It's to show the positive and negative in balance. Portraying rez life as only negative is stereotypical even if the film segments are true.

For more on Navajos and alcohol, see Jack Chick's Crazy Wolf and Mile Post 398.

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